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Home > Beyond Scotland > Wales and vicinity > Leeswood Vale Oil Works

Leeswood Vale oil works

Location 53.126383, -3.096738, show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Pontbleiddyn, County of Flint
Current local authority area Flintshire
Opened c.1861
Closed c.1888
Number of retorts 117 (in 1867), 44 (in 1888)
Ownership history Mineral Oil Co.
Flintshire Oil & Cannel Co. Ltd
W.B. Marston & Sons
Current status of site Woodland

Evidence presented at the famous Young v. Fernie court case refers to ten horizontal retorts built at Leeswood early in 1861 which, it was alleged, produced crude oil by methods covered by Young's patent. Other witnesses spoke of the use of vertical retorts. The precise ownership of these early works was not made clear, but it was the three partners of "the Mineral Oil Company" that were taken to court for breach of patent. One of those partners; Hussey Jones, had previously obtained a limited licence from Young. After prolonged legal proceedings, the court ultimately found against the Mineral Oil Company, but by that time Young's licence was close to expiratory and the partners turned their energies to the formation of a major limited company; the Flintshire Oil & Cannel Co. Ltd.

Evidence presented to the House of Lords in 1866 indicates that the new company invested £10,000 at Leeswood Vale, constructing 117 retorts; (although the works buildings were described as "mere sheds"). At that time,12,000 gallons of crude oil per week were being produced - consuming 350 tons of cannel (mainly plain cannel) per week supplied under contract from the Leeswood Cannel and Gas Company. The crude oil was transported by rail tanker for refining at Saltney (St. David's) works.

It might be imagined that the collapse in the price of oil caused the Flintshire Oil & Cannel Co. Ltd to concentrate their activities at Saltney (St. David's) works, and the Leeswood site was closed or closed. The Leeswood works were not among the property of the Flintshire company when it was liquidated in 1887.

The firm of W.B. Marston & Sons began using the Leeswood Vale oil works address from c.1868, and presumably took over the works at that time. There appears a possible discrepancy between this assumption, and the location of Marston's works described in a newpaper report relating to pollution of the River Alyn in 1870. Marston's works were dismantled in 1888.


Ordnance Survey maps reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.

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SALE of Valuable PLANT and MACHINERY, at the extensive Works known as LEESWOOD VALE OIL WORKS, Situate about 4 Miles from Mold, adjoining the London and North Western Railway from Mold to Pontybodkin having convenient sidings therefrom into the Works. MR J. E. DAVIES begs to announce his instructions to SELL BY AUCTION, at the above-mentioned Works, on MONDAY, the 2-ind OCTOBER, 1888. commencing at 11 o'clock punctually, the whole of the valuable PLANT and MACHINERY, comprising;

Also, all the Leasehold Interest of Mr William Beale Marston of and in the Works. The lease is for a term of 99 years, from 29th September, 1867. at an annual rent of £50 Descriptive Catalogues may be obtained at the Principal Hotels in the locality, or from the Auctioneer,

The Wrexham Advertiser,13th October 1888

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